Performance of Planning Boards in India: Evidence from Southern States

18 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2017

See all articles by Deepa Iyer

Deepa Iyer

University of Cambridge, Students

Tanya Agrawal

National Law School of India University

Francis Kuriakose

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Date Written: September 15, 2017


Planning boards are autonomous institutions constituted at the sub-national level (called states) in India to aid and advise the government on preparing five year plans, annual plans and undertaking expert-based studies to examine the feasibility of plan projects at the local level. In addition to this, some planning boards are also entrusted with monitoring and evaluation of plan projects. Planning boards have an important part to play in formulating and implementing development plans. However, there is no uniform structure or functional mandate of planning boards in India. As a result, the actual mandate and performance of state planning boards are largely influenced by local contexts, government’s priorities and the perception of bureaucrats about planning boards. This paper comparatively examines the ideas of structure and function of planning boards in the southern states of India through the perspective of bureaucrats about their functional mandate. The theoretical framework used is Lowe’s theory of instrumental inference of planning institutions. Elite interview method is used to compare variables of performance. The paper argues that planning boards with well-defined functional mandate, autonomy from state government, presence of experts and involvement of local governments perform better than the others in development planning. Two distinct trajectories of development are evolving in the institutional context of planning boards - type I that resembles think tank mode of development and type II that looks for reforms within the traditional structures.

Keywords: Development planning, Planning board, Decentralisation, India

JEL Classification: O20, O21

Suggested Citation

Iyer, Deepa and Agrawal, Tanya and Kuriakose, Francis, Performance of Planning Boards in India: Evidence from Southern States (September 15, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Deepa Iyer (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge, Students ( email )

United Kingdom


Tanya Agrawal

National Law School of India University ( email )

Nagarbhavi, PO Box 72
Bangalore, Karnataka 560072

Francis Kuriakose

Erasmus University Rotterdam ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062

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